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Saturday, Jan 16, 2021

Expat died after falling down uncovered manhole on way home from pub

A British man has died after falling down an uncovered manhole in Spain.
Expat Richie Kennedy, 39, was walking home from seeing friends in Calahonda, on the Costa del Sol, when he plunged down the hole.

His body was not discovered for 15 hours and he could not be saved.

His distraught partner Claus Dueholm said: ‘I stepped over the barrier and then I found him, lying there, on his back, with his head covered in blood.

‘It was terrible, I was in shock. It was devastating seeing him like this. I called an ambulance and helped his stepdad jumping down into the 8ft deep hole but we couldn’t get him out of there until about two hours later.

‘He was completely cold at this point, he had been lying there for more than 15 hours.

‘The police and the people from the ambulance couldn’t get to him, so it wasn’t until the fire brigade came with a ladder and they finally got him out.’

The 56-year-old, who works in the hotel industry, was furious to see the manhole still hadn’t been covered two days after the tragedy, which happened on June 27.

Claus, originally from Denmark, added: ‘I went to the local authorities and asked them “how many people have to die until you cover up this hole?”

‘We lost a person at 39 years old, he had his life ahead of him and we want to get justice.

‘It was so obvious, it was so close to the street where people are walking and there is no light in the street.’

The manhole, in a popular tourist area, has since been secured.

Richie’s family have set up a GoFundMe page, raising funds for legal fees for their case against the authorities, while Claus is also planning to set up a trust fund in Richie’s name.

Claus lived in Calahonda with Richie, originally from Brighton, and their two dogs for two and half years.

He had texted his partner hours before the tragedy, which proved to be the last contact the pair would have.

‘He went out to an Irish pub and had a couple of drinks with some friends,’ Claus said.

‘I was told by one of his friends that Richie made sure they all got home safely and that he would walk home. He walks home often.

‘It’s a 2km walk and he liked walking so it was quite normal for him. There is a road with lights and a footpath but in this case he chose the shortest road that has no lights and I guess he must have slipped into this hole.

‘He texted me at 00.50am that night that he was coming home and if I could wait for him because he had forgotten his keys.

‘I was waiting for him and at 2.00am he was still not here and I was wondering what happened.

‘At that point I didn’t think something could have happened – I am not a negative person so I thought he may have met another friend on the way.

‘It wasn’t until the next morning when I started getting really worried.’

Claus and Richie’s parents went on a search the next day and eventually found Richie’s body in the manhole.

Their case against the authorities continues.

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